TURTLE CONSERVATION: Turtle volunteer Naomi Santin and QPWS ranger Shane O'Connor plant melaleuca trees at Mon Repos on World Turtle Day.
TURTLE CONSERVATION: Turtle volunteer Naomi Santin and QPWS ranger Shane O'Connor plant melaleuca trees at Mon Repos on World Turtle Day. Mike Knott BUN230514TUR7

Photos from space show Mon Repos going green

PHOTOS from space taken 30 years apart reveal the dramatic changes to Mon Repos, with revegetation projects significantly increasing the number of trees along the beachfront.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Bundaberg Regional Council and a host of community groups, volunteers and school students have worked together as part of a number of projects to plant thousands of trees in the area.

The trees act as a light buffer to keep the beach dark and reduce the impact on nesting and hatching loggerhead, flatback and green turtles, which can become disorientated by the glow from artificial lights.

Mon Repos Conservation Park second-in-charge ranger Shane O'Connor said the impact of artificial light on the turtles was identified in the early 1980s.

In 1985.
In 1985.

"They realised the artificial glow from the lights of Bundaberg was attracting some of the hatchlings back inland instead of out to the ocean.

"Ideally you want a really nice dark beach so when the hatchlings emerge they can see the low light on the horizon and that's their cue to swim out."

Mr O'Connor said at the time the area had been cleared for a dairy farm and initially they were limited by the types of trees that would grow in the harsh conditions.

Mon Repos now.
Mon Repos now.

"The influence of salt spray and sunlight was so hard on the plants and there wasn't many that could grow," he said.

"As we've gotten a bit more of a canopy from those plants we can now plant other slower growing, not as hardy plants under there.

"And we've found increasing the plant species also slowly increases the animal species, so reptiles, birds and mammals are reintroduced to the area so although the park was initially for the turtles, now we're getting the park a bit more diverse so there's more for visitors to see."

Council environment and natural resources spokesman Bill Trevor said Mon Repos and the surrounding areas were significant environmental reserves.

"Since the 1970s Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has been responsible for the majority of planting undertaken on conservation park land, carried out with the help of volunteers," he said.

"The mangroves to the south of Mon Repos have grown naturally.

"Council has undertaken tree planting programs within the Barolin Nature Reserve, within the Qunaba Waste Facility site and along the coastal section of Nielson Park to assist in maintaining native vegetation.

Cr Trevor said the tree planting was a community effort, made possible with the help of volunteers from organisations including Wetland Care, Bargara State School and Impact Community Services.

"The recent announcement by Greenfleet that it would plant 90,000 native trees in the Barolin Nature Reserve as a voluntary carbon offset will greatly assist these efforts.

"Additionally, the number of cattle grazing in the Barolin Nature Reserve has been reduced which has facilitated the natural regrowth of many native trees."



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